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Global stocks fall after disappointing China data

SEOUL, South Korea – Global stocks fell Thursday after Chinese export data disappointed and renewed concerns about the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.9 per cent to 6,961 and France’s CAC 40 retreated 1.3 per cent to 4,394. Germany’s DAX fell 1.2 per cent to 10,395. Futures indicated that Wall Street was set for a weak start. Dow and S&P futures both dropped 0.5 per cent.

WEAK CHINA TRADE: Data showed that China’s exports last month fell 10 per cent from a year earlier in dollar terms, compared with a 2.8 per cent fall in August. The drop was wider than analysts’ forecast for a fall of 3.3 per cent. Imports also dropped 1.9 per cent last month, after a 1.5 per cent gain in August, due to lower shipments of key commodities such as iron ore and copper.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “China’s exports weakened last month on the back of subdued external demand. At the same time, import growth returned to negative territory, raising questions over the strength of the recent recovery in domestic demand,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics. “This could be an early sign that the recent recovery in economic activity is losing momentum.”

ASIA’S DAY: Asian markets finished lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.4 per cent to 16,774.24, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.9 per cent to 2,015.44. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index retreated 1.6 per cent to 23,031.30 and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 per cent to 3,061.35. Stocks in Australia, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also declined. Thai’s benchmark sank 2.4 per cent upon the news that its revered, long-time king has died.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 11 cents to $50.29 per barrel in New York. The contract closed 61 cents lower on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 15 cents to $51.96 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 103.77 yen from 104.29 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1037 from $1.1014.